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Hiring An Apprentice – What You Need To Know

Published March 8, 2021 (last updated on November 21, 2023) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


Have You Considered The Benefits Of Taking On An Apprentice?

If the industry your business is in has an Industry Training Organisation (ITO), you can hire an apprentice. Apprentices are trained on the job, learning the necessary skills to help them get a recognised qualification whilst working for you as a paid employee.  Note, however that there was a recent reform of vocational education which has a transition period until December 2022.  ITOs are now transitional, with Workforce Development Councils (WDC) being created over the following years. 

Taking on an apprentice enables you to manage your staffing levels more effectively. You can plan for the future as an apprentice can continue working for you once their training is completed.

You can teach your new apprentice skills and processes appropriate to your business. The business can also benefit from some of the new techniques and procedures the apprentice or trainee is learning through their ITO. Hiring apprentices may also be more cost-effective in the short-term as they are often on a lower pay rate than experienced employees during the apprenticeship, and government funding may be available to keep the costs down.

Apprenticeship Agreement And Training Plan

An apprenticeship requires a formal training agreement. It should state where employees work and receive on-the-job training from the employer while studying for a qualification. It will generally be a Level 4 New Zealand Certificate. To qualify, apprentices must attend an Industry Training Organisation (ITO), with a registered industry training programme. The ITO facilitates the training and supports the apprentice and the employer throughout the apprenticeship.

The training agreement is between the employer and the employee and forms part of the employment agreement. The employment agreement sets out the terms and conditions in respect of the apprentice’s employment. Apprentices get the same entitlements as other employees, such as annual holidays, sick leave, and public holidays where eligible. You can keep track of your apprentice’s training  progress and entitlements through our HR Software BrightHR. It allows you to store information on employees in the cloud and set notifications for key dates, as well as offering tools for time recording, rostering and leave management.

In addition, the employee requires a training plan which is not part of the employment agreement and which must be agreed to by the employer, employee and the ITO. The training plan sets out the details of the training e.g. the qualification, timeframes, delivery modes and assessment. A training plan may state apprentices must be provided with access to appropriate tools and equipment, as well as properly supervised training at work to acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete their course. 

The employer, employee and ITO must follow the Tertiary Education’s Commission (TEC) Good Practice Guide to apprenticeships in New Zealand. TEC will also step in to help solve any disputes regarding the training plan. To become a New Zealand Apprentice, you must be over 16, but there is no upper age limit. Each industry has different entry requirements, but an apprenticeship generally takes 3 or 4 years to complete.

Costs Of Hiring An Apprentice

The Government provides an Apprenticeship Support Programme which assists with funding to help employers retain and bring on new apprentices. It includes a number of programmes including the Apprenticeship Boost, which provides support to employers during to the COVID pandemic.

Apprentices who are completing an approved industry training programme may be paid the starting out or training minimum wage if they qualify for it.

If you are thinking of hiring an apprentice, ensure you have all the necessary information and tools such as our BrightHR software to support your employees and business. Call us now for free initial advice on 0800 005 215.

This website article has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after publication may affect the completeness or accuracy of this information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties. 

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